York University Student Programmer / Data Scientist (Fall 2023)

The Refugee Law Lab is looking a student research assistant with strong Python programming skills, to assist with research projects involving legal analytics and AI. The position is open to York University undergraduate students in data science, computer science, software engineering or related disciplines.

The Lab has several ongoing projects related to open-source legal analytics in the refugee law field. The projects use data about Canada’s refugee determination process scraped from online sources, apply various NLP and LLM tools to extract useful information from that data, analyze the data, and present insights from that data in accessible formats to assist refugee lawyers appearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board and the Federal Court.

To help with these projects, depending on the skill-set of the successful candidate, work may involve:

(a) Participating in brainstorming and planning meetings
(b) Programing automated processes for legal data collection from online sources
(c) Undertaking data wrangling to clean collected data
(d) Applying NLP tools to the cleaned data
(e) Leveraging LLMs and visualization tools to present insights from the data in accessible formats to non-specialists

Qualifications & Competencies:

  • Currently enrolled York undergraduate student in a relevant discipline (e.g. data science, computer science, software engineering)
  • Strong Python programming skills
  • Data scraping / data wrangling experience is an asset
  • Experience with natural language processing is an asset
  • Experience with OpenAI’s API (or similar LLM platforms) is an asset
  • Experience with data visualization is an asset
  • French language skills are an asset
  • Interest in legal analytics or immigration/refugee issues is an asset
  • Lived experience with forced migration or being a member of an equity seeking group is an asset

Context: The Refugee Law Lab, based at York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies and Osgoode Hall Law School, is devoted to research and advocacy related to new legal technologies and their impact on refugees, other displaced communities, and people on the move. We develop datasets and legal analytics that enhance transparency in refugee law processes. We study and critique the use of artificial intelligence and other technologies by governments and private actors in the migration field. And we produce legal technology that advances the rights and interests of refugees and other marginalized people on the move. We are committed to social justice, to interdisciplinarity, to evidence-informed policy, and to ensuring that the data, research and technologies that we produce are freely accessible to the public. We strive to work from a community-based perspective, foregrounding the lived experiences of people on the move and their interactions with technology.

Place of work: remote

Salary: $25/hr (inclusive of vacation pay)

Time Commitment: Approximately 5-10 hours per week throughout the Fall 2023 term, with the possibility of extending to the Winter 2024 term. Hours are flexible and we can accommodate periods of non-availability.

Eligibility: Current York University undergraduate student in 2nd / 3rd / 4th year (as of Fall 2023) in Data Science, Computer Science, Software Engineering or related disciplines. Must be eligible for Research at York positions.

Application Deadline: September 11 at 5:00pmET

Application process: Apply online with a CV, electronic copy of unofficial transcripts, and a brief cover note describing your interest in the position.